Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

We have tackled motorcycle lane splitting before on our Bethesda motorcycle accident page, but we focused primarily on your rights if you are involved in an accident while lane splitting. Here, we wanted to take a moment to go over some safety tips regarding lane splitting. Not only do we aim to keep you safe, but if you are exercising good sense and caution while lane splitting and happen to be involved in an accident, the strength of your case will rely on your knowledge and application of proper technique.

Just as in normal riding situations, the more visible you are, the better. Headlights, reflective or bright clothing, and a helmet are your primary defenses against other cars on the road. Being visible is a two-way street, however—just as you dress to be visible for other drivers who are on the lookout for you, you must also defend against drivers who may not be as vigilant. Staying out of blind spots and traveling at speeds only slightly above slowed traffic can help you be spotted quickly and easily.

The above are good rules whenever you’re driving, but when you are lane splitting, you really need to go above and beyond to not only protect yourself in the moment, but also in the event you are injured in an accident. Be cognizant of the speed differential between the lanes that you are splitting—if it is too great, you are risking a car from the much slower lane switching lanes in front of you. Once traffic starts moving at a decent clip again—from 25 to 35 mph—pick a lane and merge back in with traffic.

At 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 30, a man was driving northbound on I-95 in Fairfax County when he lost control of his motorcycle. The man, identified as 68-year-old Timothy E. Halpin of Dumfries, was thrown into the center lane of the highway, into the path of a tractor-trailer, while his motorcycle slid into the left shoulder.

The tractor-trailer struck him, killing him immediately. The driver of the tractor-trailer did not stop, and law enforcement officials are still trying to find the driver of the 18-wheeler or any other drivers on the road who may have witnessed the accident. Police did stress that alcohol was not a factor in Halpin’s crash.

Traffic was backed up for nearly ten miles south of the crash while police shut down the main lanes of the highway for over two hours.

While the Washington, D.C. motorcycle injury attorneys at Lewis & Tompkins have yet to see a rabbit pulled over in Bethesda for a similar violation, this traffic stop definitely ranks among their favorites for a humorous reminder of motorcycle safety.

Easter Sunday was a strange day for law enforcement officials in Southern California, when San Diego area California Highway Patrol officer Adam Griffiths pulled over a very high-profile celebrity for his failure to wear a helmet.

The Easter Bunny was traveling near San Diego in his motorcycle with a side car when Officer Griffiths pulled him over. California has strict helmet laws—just as we do here in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.—and the rabbit was informed of his violation. It was no joking matter—not only was the bunny not wearing a helmet, but his rabbit costume significantly impacted his ability to see his surroundings and other vehicles. Not only did this compromise his safety, but it also compromised the safety of the drivers around him.

With gas prices climbing, the economy slipping, and traffic somehow getting even worse in the Washington, D.C. area (and throughout the country), it is no surprise that more and more people are forgoing their gas-greedy cars and trucks for more economical and fuel-savvy motorcycles. This move, though, has proven to be an expensive one for insurance companies.

The GAO, or Government Accountability Office, recently released the GAO Motorcycle Safety Report, which uses information compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 2010. This report contains information on how much motorcycle crashes cost annually, which is approximately $16 billion.

The surprising statistics paint a grim picture for motorcyclists—15% of traffic fatalities in the United States involve motorcyclists, though motorcycles only make up about 3% of U.S. registered vehicles. And while motorcyclists are over 30 times more likely than a driver of a car to be killed in a crash, it is not the fatal accidents that account for the majority of the $16 billion quoted figure.

As more and more people opt to ride motorcycles, motorcycle safety has become an increasing concern. Not only must passenger car drivers be on the lookout for motorcycle riders, but also riders themselves must take responsibility for avoiding motorcycle accidents.

To the end, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation can help. According to its website, this non-profit organization celebrates its 40th birthday this year. This organization provides motorcyclists with rider training and education. It is dedicated to promoting safety for motorcycle riders.

MSF was established in 1973. At that time, few formal, research-based motorcyclist-training programs existed. Over time, MSF has created a comprehensive training system that addresses riders’ various needs and interests. The training system is based on adult learning principles and motorcycle-related research and experience.

A recent news article highlighted the findings of a study regarding motorcycle-related injuries. The study concluded that people over the age of 60 make up an increasing proportion of the number of people injured in motorcycle crashes in the United States. The study also concluded that older adults are more likely to be seriously injured in motorcycle crashes and require more hospitalizations.

These findings are especially significant in light of previous studies that have concluded that the number of older motorcycle riders is on the rise. In 1990, just 10 percent of motorcycle riders were over the age of 50. In 2003, 25 percent of riders were ages 50 and above.

Researchers analyzed records from emergency departments, looking specifically at visits for motorcycle crash injuries between the years 2001 and 2008. During that time period, 1.5 million motorcycle crash injuries involved adults over the age of 20. The injury rates rose for all age groups, but the increase was highest for older adults. The injury rate for people age 60 and over rose almost 250 percent.

Just because most vehicle accidents take place on Maryland’s roads, highways, and interstates does not mean that they all do. Off-road vehicles such as ATVs and dirt bikes can lead to serious injuries, especially in children and in those who do not wear helmets and other protective gear.

This could not have been any clearer than on last Sunday, when Police were called to the scene of multiple off-road accidents that resulted in injury. Maryland State Police were called to the scene of a four-wheeler accident involving two young girls, aged 17 and 10. Both were rushed by emergency workers to Cumberland Memorial Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The younger of the two girls suffered incapacitating injuries and was transported by Maryland State Police Medevac helicopter to medical help. According to police, the girls were both ejected from the vehicle when it was driven into a ditch.

In a separate accident, two more people were injured in a four-wheeler ATV accident and taken to Cumberland Hospital as well. In a third accident, a man was injured in a dirt bike accident in Avilton, which the Garrett County Emergency Services responded to. The extent of the off-road vehicle accident injuries in these two cases is not known.

After losing control of his motorcycle, a recently purchased Harley-Davidson, 62-year-old Johnny Olsen crashed into the Conowingo Dam Bridge and fell 25 feet down an embankment and into the river.

The motorcycle crash occurred on Sunday afternoon at the intersection of Route 222 and Route 1, when Olsen failed to stop at the stop sign, hit the dam wall, and fell into the river. Some witnesses have reported the motorcycle was speeding, though fellow rider explained that his friend lost control of his vehicle because the Parkview, Maryland, man was not familiar with the new bike.

A boat from the Department of Natural Resources was in the area, heard the crash take place, and recovered the body. He was pronounced dead after being pulled aboard the boat. Maryland State Police are investigating the accident.

According to The Baltimore Sun, 23-year-old Ryan Myers, the son of Maryland State Delegate LeRoy Myers, was killed in a motorcycle accident that involved with a tractor-trailer in Washington County, Maryland, late on Thursday afternoon shortly after 5:30 p.m. Police think that motorcycle speeding may have been a factor in the fatal motorcycle accident.

Myers was riding his motorcycle on Md. 63, just north of I-70, allegedly speeding. When a big rig pulled out from a truck stop parking lot and into his path heading north, driven by 62-year-old Larry Garrett, Myers skid on his bike for 300 feet and into the path of the truck. The left side of the truck ran over the man’s legs. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the motorcycle accident.

Myers was riding a 2001 Yamaha motorcycle, while the truck driver was driing a 2007 Kenworth 18-wheeler.

Each year in Annapolis, Maryland, a group of motorcycle enthusiasts petition the Maryland General Assembly to relax mandatory helmet laws for older, responsible, and educated riders. Although similar measures have failed repeatedly since 1996, motorcycle rider and Senator John Astle (Democrat) is still fighting for greater freedom for riders despite the safety concerns of helmet-free bike riding.

The proposed change would allow motorcycle riders over 21 who either have two years of licensed motorcycle experience or take an approved safety course approved by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation ride without a helmet if they wish. Those driving larger, three-wheeled motorcycles with enclosed cabs would also have the option to go without a helmet, as would motorcycle passengers.

The helmet law bill, which was heard on Tuesday by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, would also require the Motor Vehicle Association to conduct more (and better) research on motorcycle accidents, motorcycle injuries, and motorcycle fatalities in Maryland.